A city choir performed vintage pop and Gospel music

A recent Saturday evening at the Alliance Francaise was filled with song. The Bangalore School of Music’s choir performed a mix of popular, Broadway and Gospel music.

Conducted by Victor Thomas Abraham, the choir performed as part of the School’s 25-year celebrations.

The concert was marked, on the whole, by stirring music; at times, some performers seemed ever-so-slightly uncertain, thus breaking the spell of the music.

For instance, vocal clarity suffered when singers moved randomly away from the mike, or bent to look at lyrics.

“Mary Had A Little Lamb” was a highlight of the popular section of music. Evidently, the tune isn’t too hackneyed to be reinvented: the conductor’s version has multiple key changes and complex vocal layers that infuse the popular rhyme with buzzing action.

Shifting between a full choir, solos, trios and quartets kept things interesting, and allowed some truly talented voices to shine.

Shivalika Shylanath, Jessica Morwood and Rachel Philip, the female trio, offered spirited renditions of classics “House Of The Rising Sun” and “Dream Dream Dream”.

A dramatic performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Memory”, in which soloist Rachel Philip briefly channelled the Cats character Grizabella, left one wanting a repeat.

In the Gospel music segment, a four-part rendition of “Ave Maria” with the trio and the addition of Anup Abraham Thomas brought the ubiquitous prayer to living, breathing life.

The choir succeeded for its simple focus on good music, but the evening lost a little to the inevitable stiffness attendant to the audience-and-performer format. For instance, to hear the peppy “The Locomotion” made everyone want to stand up and jig, but, needless to say, it wasn’t possible.

The selections chosen by the choir have an unsure place today – except, perhaps, as pure nostalgia. Through the evening, the choir was accompanied by pianist Rebecca Thomas, bassist Trevelyn Claremont, drummer Faustin D’Rozario and keyboardist Samuel Vijayakumar.